10 Signs Your Identity's Been Stolen identity theft, identity theft warning, ID theft warning, online safety, ID theft warning signs, identity theft warning signs

NEW YORK ( LowCards.com) — Recent security breaches at Target, Neiman Marcus , Skype and Snapchat show identity theft has become a major problem in our society.

Personal information, email, credit cards and bank accounts are unfortunately not as private and protected as we think. It is important for consumers to recognize suspicious activity and take steps to protect themselves.

Here are the top 10 signs you need to look out for to spot identity theft:

1. Unauthorized credit or debit card purchases
Fraudulent debit or credit card purchases are a clear indication of identity theft. You need to carefully review each transaction that appears on your statement. If you notice something on your account that you do not remember buying, you need to contact the card company immediately.

2. Unexpected credit approvals
Have you ever been approved for a loan or a credit card you never applied for? That may be a sign of identity theft. You have to be careful about jumping to that conclusion, though, since some businesses send out mass mailings of what appear to be approvals of a loan.

3. Instant credit decline
This one applies to people who normally have good credit and stay up to date with their credit card payments. If you try to apply for a loan and get instantly declined, it may be because there are issues with your credit you don't know about. The same is true if you try to use your card and it gets rejected at the register. If you know you should have credit and you don't, you need to investigate.

4. Unprompted collection letters
If you start getting collection letters in the mail from companies, especially ones you may not deal with, you need to contact them to understand the problem. You may find that someone else has been opening accounts under your name. Call the collection company and explain the situation.

5. Email account issues
Sometimes an identity thief will hack into your email account to see what kind of information is stored there. They will check for bank statements, credit card receipts and any other financial information.

6. Flagged account warnings
If your bank or credit card account has odd charges on it, your financial institution may flag your account for closer monitoring. If you get a letter or call, you need to talk to the bank and see what is going on. Make sure you know who you are talking to without question — it may actually be someone looking to steal your identity in the future. Do not give out your Social Security number or other sensitive information without verifying the identity of that person.